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Ngô Thanh Vân to Produce Vietnam's First Superhero Movie, Vinaman

Horror, historical fiction, comedy, heist, coming-of-age — in recent years, Vietnamese filmmakers have gradually come up with their own interpretation of many classic movie genres. But what about a superhero movie?

Earlier today, action star and producer Ngô Thanh Vân took to Facebook to officially announce the latest movie project from her company Studio68, an original superhero movie titled Vinaman to be released in 2021.

“Young people need a hero. And Vietnam needs a representative for humanity, culture and kindness,” she writes in Vietnamese. “Therefore, I pressed on with the VINAMAN project. Someone strong who’s capable of sacrifice to carry with him a destiny. Someone who can embody the spirit and heart of the Vietnamese people.”

The announcement came with a simple image featuring the movie title and stylized symbol, presumably belonging to the mysterious Vinaman, on a red background. Discerning netizens were quick to point out that the figure might have been inspired by chim lạc, an ancient bird motif commonly seen on Dong Son drums.

Vân elaborated that the idea for the movie stemmed from an image she saw during Vietnam’s first wave of COVID-19 infections. It depicted healthcare volunteers sitting outside on grass mats with their lunch boxes. The touching moment reminded her of everyday acts of heroism in the country and how they often remain unsung.

“I’ve always been proud of the Vietnam brand. To push for the first cinematic project bearing the Vietnamese brand is a very risky move, and I know that there will be many challenges ahead,” she adds. “It’s high time we have our own superhero.”

The sudden declaration has generated positive reactions online. Rapper Đen Vâu also chimed in that he had similar thoughts before and voiced his support. Still, a number of comments question the decision behind the name Vinaman, saying that it reminds them of snack brands. A few opined that a Vietnamese superhero should bear a Vietnamese-language name rather than following a western naming convention.

Studio68 was founded by Ngô Thanh Vân and has been the creative minds behind many successful movie features in recent years, including Tam Cam, Hai Phuong and Co Ba Sai Gon. Last year, they revealed that an adaptation of the comic series Than Dong Dat Viet was in production.

[Image via Studio68]